2011 was an important year for IRC as it marked the conclusion of IRC's Business Plan 2007-2011. Looking back, we made great strides in reinventing ourselves strategically and operationally, concluding 2011 with heightened international recognition of the contributions we can make in the WASH sector.
Our profile was boosted by the international Philanthropedia Review's listing of IRC as the 4th top international non-profit organisation for WASH in 2011 for our ability to achieve impact.
In an independent evaluation of our work commissioned by the Dutch Government, we gained further recognition. According to the evaluation, "there is little doubt that IRC's core competences (innovation, knowledge management, advocacy and capacity building) are highly relevant" and that "the IRC goes well beyond... simplistic water supply targets that only attempt to measure access to services while completely ignoring the quality and sustainability of the services".
The increased scope of our operations resulted in a significant increase in staff over the last five years. We concluded 2011 with a 61 member staff base, and some 40 local staff in our focus-country programmes and projects.
During the five years of the Business Plan 2007-2011, it became clear to us that delivering services through stand-alone projects was incapable of bringing innovation at scale, let alone achieving sustainability. We realised that a greater degree of collaboration, joint learning and fact-finding was necessary in order to achieve our goals of innovation and sustainability. As a result, we started working more intensively in a reduced number of focus countries to become a more effective actor in-country, and tackling these challenges directly with our partners. These shifts were driven by a desire to obtain greater understanding of the challenges ahead of us, and as such, to achieve more lasting impact.